Question of the day.

What is something that you refuse to spend money on?

My answer:

There are probably tons of things that I either consciously refuse, or just for whatever other reason don’t spend my money on that a lot of/most people do, but it feels so natural that I can’t even think of many such things at the moment. 😀

One such thing that does come to my mind though is films streaming services like Netflix or whatever else is out there. There are several reasons for that, but the major one is simply that I’m not all that much into movies. Or even regular, traditional TV, for that matter. Something has to really, really, really interest me for me to want to watch it and for my interest to keep going. Most people assume that this is normal, because duh, I’m blind. While I don’t care about how normal it is, it’s probably not the entire reason, because there’s quite a lot of content with audiodescription now on such streaming services and it’s growing. Plus, even without that, I know quite a bunch of blind people who enjoy watching TV or movies regardless, with someone being their personal audiodescriber or just things that are possible to follow more or less without audiodescription. Moreover, I’ve even came across a blind movie critic from Sweden. I guess I have something weird going on because, whether it’s with audiodescription or not, I find it quite difficult to follow movies, I get distracted or plain bored very easily. And this is very selective because I don’t have this problem with anything else really. Perhaps in some part it’s because when I was a small kid, Olek and me watched a fair bit of children’s television or cartoons, but no one really described everything for me in a very detailed way as is apparently the case with a lot of other blind folks and their families. And I didn’t really mind that, I didn’t think much of it and I’m not perfectly sure if I even understood it totally that other people take something else in other than the audio bit. 😀 And I think it just might not have crossed my parents’ minds that a blind child might need that. I usually don’t mind it these days either if someone isn’t up to describing, unless I’m really really really interested in something and totally can’t make sense of some scenes or a movie as a whole, then it absolutely can be frustrating. I suppose it’s difficult to do audiodescription while watching the movie yourself, especially for the first time, and describe things in a way that makes sense, and especially when a movie is fast-paced. In our family only Sofi can do this reasonably well, but will often get so engrossed in watching that she’ll forget to describe things when the plot gets more dense and it tends to be rather inconsistent. My Dad tries his best, but has no knack for describing, plus the same problem as with Sofi, and my Mum doesn’t do it nearly at all unless I explicitly ask her to. But like I said it’s not a big deal usually, it only helps me grow my deductive and analytical skills if I am interested in a movie, or if I’m not so much, then I don’t really care, I just zone out to my Brainworld which is always interesting, until Sofi’s back in multitasking mode. 😀

If I do watch things for some reason, it really has to engross me, or I watch for social reasons, that is as a way of spending time with my family, or for linguistic reasons, as a way to expose myself to a language or a particular accent in a language, which happens rarely these days because I can think of tons of more interesting ways of exposing myself usually but there was a time in my life where I’d be jumping out of my skin with euphoria at a possibility of watching a Swedish movie just to hear the language. 😀

So, as you can see, it’s not really worth it for me. Plus, Olek does have a subscription to Netflix, which Sofi also uses when she’s allowed and my parents use occasionally, so if I want to watch something specifically from Netflix I can watch it with Sofi. We watched Anne with an E, for example, which Sofi loved, and I had super mixed feelings about but mostly didn’t like it because I never like how movies based on the books change, simplify and cut out SO much of the original book plot line. 😀 We also watched Wonder, based on the R.J. Palacios book, which was amazing for Sofi who didn’t read the book, and pretty cool for me who did read the book. But, while I was kind of interested in how much both movies would differ or not from their book counterparts, there was a lot more of Sofi’s initiative in it, haha.

My Mum also subscribes HBO and a couple other things that I can’t remember now and sometimes we watch stuff from there, usually documentaries that we both find more or less interesting. Or one time we watched a whole Czech thriller or crime series or whatever that would be classified as in one night, that I originally only watched because there was a girl called Misha in there and I had nothing more constructive to do at the time, but it ended up being fairly interesting overall, even though I’m generally not a huge thriller person.

What’s such a thing(s) for you? 🙂

Question of the day (3rd April).

Hey people! 🙂

Do you like to buy physical copies of CDs or download the digital version? Or do you only download the singles? (or do you just listen to the radio or something?)

My answer:

As I wrote in my answer to an earlier question of the day, I don’t have a CD player right now and I don’t listen to CD’s anymore. I have two main ways of listening to music these days. First I use streaming services – for me it’s Spotify because I find it the most accessible, most of all I like that they have an accessible desktop app, and it’s Swedish, haha. – I have a bit of a love-hate attitude and relationship with Spotify and streaming services in general. I love them because they offer a comfortable, easy and relatively cheap (or even free if you like even lower sound quality and enjoy the ads) access to loads of music and if you need it, and have a lot of devices, you can listen to it pretty much anywhere you are, and stuff like family subscription plans are helpful, in our house three people have Spotify and it’s handy to be on a family plan. Also I really like that you can discover a lot of other music which is very handy as well if you are picky and won’t fall in love with every other song playing on the radio. 😉 I hate it for the low sound quality, even though I understand that it’s not possible to be higher since millions of people are listening to music at the same time and Spotify doesn’t want to be sluggish. I hate it because, in practice, it only supports those artists and music labels who are already famous and popular. I mean, I’ve discovered a lot of great, barely known, niche artists from niche genres thanks to Spotify and I’m very happy about it, the list includes my last faza/music crush Gwilym Bowen Rhys and a lot of other great people, but from the moment you open Spotify and look through their browse tab, their own ready-made playlists, features like those regional filters for specific countries that they have or however they call them, you’ll be flooded by loads of mainstream music that you’d have easy access too otherwise as well and that you most likely already know either by name or have heard their songs, or both, or if yoou haven’t heard of them they’ll soon go viral anyway and every radio station will be playing them, or if that miraculously will not happen for this or that reason, they still make very easily digestible music and very much in line with what is currently most popular thanks to the media. And, okay, there is some good mainstream music out there, there are artists who are famous for a reason and are really talented, but it’s sad that artists who are lesser known, also those who do not want to go viral or whose music simply isn’t fit for that despite being really great and good quality, or who are independent and self-producing or something, and who could potentially make much more money on the music and be noticed by more people, are so little promoted by streamers and it’s all intentional and purposeful action, despite that with the possibilities that those streamers have, they could really transform the music industry, the way people listen to music, make people more conscious, more selective, and show them some good music, promote it so that those who don’t know much more beyond the charts and what has been popular throughout the last couple of years/decades can find something more that they would like but don’t know that they would like, because they don’t know it exists and where/how to look for it, and what they would actually be into. Of course if you are interested and determined and want to, you’ll find such underappreciated artists on Spotify and great music that they do not feature on their own playlists, but you really have to be interested yourself and most people just want to listen to something, are not interested in digging too much and have no time for that which is absolutely understandable, so they’d have to get it shoved in their faces to be able to notice that there is also other music and that it exists. It’s a shame that so many people just listen to what is forced into their ears by radio stations or other such and that those “trend setters” decide for them what they are supposed to like, instead of that people could actually choose what to listen to on their own, and decide on their own what is their favourite kind of music. It feels like brainwashing to me and makes me think that one can’t really be a self-aware person when they don’t know what music they truly like, but just takes what’s lying nearest to them. I don’t blame the individuals for that though because that’s how things have been for ages and we are used to listening to music this way. I also hate that those less popular artists aren’t paid enough as a result, I mean not as much as they would be paid if someone bought their album, and I feel it’s not fair whatsoever, but as my Mum rightly says the words justice and fair only exist in the dictionary. 😀 Not to mention that some independent artists are not on Spotify whatsoever despite making lots of great music, for various reasons.

The cons are quite heavy, and I guess there are more of them, but anyway, as I said, Spotify is my main way of listening to music despite that, and probably will be for a while yet, because it’s very accessible and easy, and sometimes the easy option is the only practically possible one. And I listen to a lot of music on Spotify these days, or mostly nights actually. Spotify is my main base for discovering new music and being up to date with my most favourite artists that I want to be up to date with, and music from Spotify serves me as a background noise when doing stuff on the computer during the day, unless I happen to be listening to the radio but I’ll write about that later. I also listen to music from YouTube sometimes but that’s not very often, only when there’s something I like that’s not on Spotify, usually something that I happened to discover years ago back when I was using Last.fm as my main source of discoveries and taste-shaping so to say.

As I said though, it really bothers me what Spotify is doing to the lesser known artists, for example those singing in extincting languages. My other way of listening to music is on my PlexTalk Linio Pocket. PlexTalk is a specialised device for the blind which is small, and thus portable, fitting into a pocket, as you can guess, and it can read books – audiobooks, texts – play podcasts, radio from Internet, play any audiofiles in most formats, so music as well, it can also work as a recorder and has a couple other features like a calendar, alarm, etc. It uses SD memory cards so all my actual music that I have for myself is on SD cards. If I like and respect an artist and their music particularly much, I’ll buy their album, or if I don’t like a whole album I’ll buy some single songs in a digital format. It also is very handy to have this kind of music collection because I take my PlexTalk everywhere with me so I can have my own, bought music there with me regardless of whether there is Internet connectioon or not, I can listen to my PlexTalk in my bed, in the car, etc. I can play the music from some other device if I don’t want to listen to it from PlexTalk’s small speaker or headphones but for example my computer speakers which have much better quality. And I know that I’ll always have this music and not just as long as the artist will be willing to cooperate with Spotify. Well except for things like if I lose or break a card or format it by accident, haha.

Also I do listen to the radio, but that’s rarely for the music. I was hugely into radio as a kid, I mean more like in theory, what it’s like to work in there, changes in specific radio stations over time, lots of such details, that was very interesting to me, and I still do find it interesting but not to such a geeky degree, and I listen much less to the radio right now. First of all I hardly listen to Polish radio stations now, if I do, it is because some programme really interests me. Or because it is playing in the background – in the kitchen, in the bathroom, even in the loo (we have a radio in the loo which turns on and off with the lights and it scares some people or at least surprises them very much when they visit for the first time and go to the loo), I like to switch it on if I’m alone somewhere if I don’t have my Plextalk with me there so that my sensory/silence anxiety is more manageable. – My school friend used to laugh at me that I am such a snob that I only listen to mainstream music and get a chance to catch up with what’s popular and form my opinion when I’m sitting on the toilet, lol, but that’s not the case. Well, not always. 😀 Otherwise, if I listen to the radio, it’s usually some public radio from another country, or in any case a radiostation where they talk a lot so it can boost my language skills. Like today I’m listening to Sveriges Radio p4 Stockholm all day. They do play a lot of music, very normal music, but I mostly just care about the language. Sometimes I like to make radio discoveries though from foreign radio stations. It was very hard for me, for example, to find Welsh language music on Spotify at the beginning of my Welsh language journey. I mean, there are playlists made by people which were helpful but when I wanted to go beyond that and see what’s more, I found it difficult, especially that Spotify’s algorithms picked up very late on my Welsh language mania and I couldn’t count on them that they would give me some further recommendations. BBC Radio Cymru was extremely helpful in that, as was Cymru FM, the latter plays almost exclusively music, with barely any talking ever in between, almost exclusively in Welsh (with some occasional, almost like accidental, Cornish or Breton songs) in a variety of genres but mostly pop, rock, folk and alternative/indie stuff, I’d say. Also I love learning about how different are music trends in different countries, no matter if I’m gonna like them or not, I like to see for example what Swedish songs are currently popular in Sweden, or even English ones that are either by Swedish artists or simply didn’t make their way to Poland to such a degree for some reason. I actually end up liking a lot of foreign pop or hits or stuff, lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Finnish pop in the radio stations. So I’m not such a big snob, after all. I myself don’t think I am at all, because seriously I do like a lot of “normal” stuff, but even Zofijka thinks I’m snobbish.

So, that’s about it, for me. How about you? 🙂